The end of an era: BlackBerry smartphones will be no more

The end of an era: BlackBerry smartphones will be no more
BlackBerry phones were once every businessman’s portable office. Know for their physical querty keyboard, they were handy for typing emails on the go, something other phones were really bad at back then. With the rise of iPhones and Android phones, however, BlackBerry took a tumble and was almost forgotten.

That was until the Chinese company TCL Communication got the rights for the brand and revived it. The new phones were a mix between Android and BlackBerry’s DNA: improved security features and a software suite meant for professionals. With the business world mostly entrenched deep into Apple’s ecosystem, however, the new phones failed to make an impact.

It’s not surprising then that today, BlackBerry Mobile’s official Twitter account announced the end of the BlackBerry TCL era. In the provided statement, we’re informed that TCL Communication’s rights over the BlackBerry brand will expire on August 31, 2020, and after that date, the company will no longer sell the devices carrying that name.



Those of you that own BlackBerry smartphones shouldn’t be worried, however. TCL will continue to provide customer and warranty service until August 31, 2022 (or later if required by local laws).

We’re sure there are dedicated fans of the brand that will be sad to hear this news. For them, the hope remains that another manufacturer will license the name and revive the BlackBerry brand once again. If we have to be realistic, however, the chances of that happening are slim to none.

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34 Comments

20. Venom

Posts: 4109; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Not going to be mean but I won't sugarcoat the facts. This is about BlackBerry as a HARDWARE company. They're very lucrative now with software...and litigation of vague patents. I never doubted them as doing security because they are the best at security and suing for pointless reasons but hardware they are not. That is the point people need to understand.

21. domfonusr

Posts: 1106; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

But, then again, often the sugar-coating of facts is helpful in the long-run for many people. It's akin to drinking vinegar for digestion... much better to have a spoonful of honey with it, as my Dad always said. Drinking the vinegar straight may be the better (read that 'more efficient') option, but we all know that isn't gonna happen for the great majority of people. While the results with the straight vinegar may be better, the prognosis when honey is involved in the transaction is much improved for a wide majority of people. Well, you know what they say: "Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down..." BlackBerry ceased being a hardware company years ago, and while TCL is a hardware company, they simply don't have the gonads to invest in the BlackBerry brand the way they need to in order to reap the true rewards of investment. They were willing to go the half-baked route, riding on the coat-tails of a brand revival, harnessing nostalgia and fanboyism, along with the ease of using Android (and letting BlackBerry provide additional software, which is their new strong-suit after all) with a really decent QWERTY keyboard, but when they saw what it would take to make real money from it, they just didn't have the wherewithal. And that is 'strong medicine' to the uncommitted. Could have used a little more 'sugar', I suppose, but it just wasn't there. I don't see Optiemus or BB Merah Putih selling BlackBerry-branded phones outside of their regions (Indonesia and India), so I think the days of BlackBerry branded devices in the Western world are probably over, at least for now.

25. meanestgenius

Posts: 23083; Member since: May 28, 2014

“BlackBerry ceased being a hardware company years ago, and while TCL is a hardware company, they simply don't have the gonads to invest in the BlackBerry brand the way they need to in order to reap the true rewards of investment.” Thank you, domfonsur. You get it and understand the fact that BlackBerry stopped being a hardware company years ago (since 2016). Other people here can’t quite seem to grasp that fact, choosing instead to spin it as if BlackBerry is just now leaving the hardware business. It’s called denial. BB Merah Putih no longer builds, markets and distributes BlackBerry smartphones, either. Their licensing agreement with BlackBerry, the successful software company that left hardware back in 2016, is over. I don’t think Optiemus is still involved with BlackBerry either, iirc.

27. Venom

Posts: 4109; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Do you have a Cliffnotes version available or something? I do get the gist of what you're saying. I'm just being real. Blackberry is dead in the phone scene. It's not denial or anything like that despite what was incorrectly reported. They were relying on the Blackberry name to sell a overpriced midrange phone and that wasn't going to work when you have better, more capable devices on the market. I don't think we need honey. We have enough flies, or fly in this case, flying around as is lol.

32. meanestgenius

Posts: 23083; Member since: May 28, 2014

It’s extreme denial from you, and you’re the fly buzzing around as if there is dead meat. You must be smelling Googles flagship Pixel line, lol.

24. meanestgenius

Posts: 23083; Member since: May 28, 2014

Mxy, who is sugar coating facts? “BlackBerry” has been out of the hardware game since 2016. That’s a fact. No sugar coating. BlackBerry has successfully pivoted to a thriving software Cybersecurity AI company to the tune of a billion dollars. That is a fact. No sugar coating. I provided links in one of my comments below that I know you saw that supports what I’m saying. Where are your links to support that BlackBerry is just now done as a hardware company, as opposed to 2016? You have absolutely doubted that they would survive as company, as you were constantly attacking them and anyone who said anything that didn’t jive with your narrative for several years in these comments sections, only to have been proven wrong, as I said you would, lmao. BlackBerry Mobile, a Creation of TCL to handle the building, marketing and distribution of BlackBerry hardware that was being licensed from BlackBerry themselves, are the ones that are out of business. That is a fact. That is the point that people like you need to understand and stop being in denial about. But these facts are something that you are in extreme denial about.

28. Venom

Posts: 4109; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Ok let's get one thing straight assuming you are talking to me because I can see that math isn't your strongest suit. There's no several years. I've only been here for two, says so right in my profile so stop making stuff up. The only reason you are attacking my comment is because I made it. I've stated multiple times that I don't have any real beef with BlackBerry other than when they decide to litigate for bs reasons. I even praised the KeyONE as being a good device. You act like saying BlackBerry when referring to "BlackBerry Mobile" is erroneous but that's just you nitpicking, a usual tactic of yours. I haven't doubted anything and I challenge you to find a comment where you have seen me doubt them as a software company. Of course I don't expect you to because you always deflect and project whenever it comes to requests for proof. Let's see who's really in denial here.

33. meanestgenius

Posts: 23083; Member since: May 28, 2014

Mxy, we all know it’s you. You can try and hide it all you want, but everyone on this site knows it’s you and what you’ve been doing on this site for years. This is just a new profile in the long list of profiles you’ve had here....10, to be exact. And stop being so dramatic. Responding to your comment isn’t attacking you. It’s clear that you do have beef with an inanimate object, or you would not have created 10 accounts just to troll them. It is erroneous, as it’s two entirely different companies. You only say it’s nitpicking because it proves you wrong. A usual tactic of yours. You’ve said multiple times that they would not survive and that they are dead, even when they dropped hardware and became a software company. You can’t talk about deflecting and projecting when it comes to proof when you’ve yet to show proof that I requested from you about that phone that you own. Cut the hypocrisy. I see you are still in denial here.

17. tokuzumi

Posts: 2029; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

Bought my mom a DTEK50 3 years ago. She's still using it today. For her usage, this phone has been great. But I will be replacing it this year with something better. It's sad to see a company that was king of the world 12-13 years ago die off. Just goes to show what happens when you don't take your competitors and the changing market seriously. HTC isn't far behind.

19. Venom

Posts: 4109; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Yup I agree. The KeyONE was a good phone but they messed up by releasing an overpriced inferior spec one before they released the good one. They did the same thing with the follow up as well and overpriced it to the grave. I know some people were stubborn against the facts but this article just proves that.

23. meanestgenius

Posts: 23083; Member since: May 28, 2014

“Stubborn against the facts” is you seething with anger thinking BlackBerry would die as company, only to see that they’ve become a thriving billion dollar Cybersecurity AI company.

29. Venom

Posts: 4109; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

I never said nor implied that they wouldn't thrive as a software company. Stop making stuff up.

34. meanestgenius

Posts: 23083; Member since: May 28, 2014

Yes you have, stop flip flopping now because you’ve been proven wrong.

15. KingSam

Posts: 1551; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

The generation that treasured blackberry moved on. The younger kids simply don't esteem the blackberry brand that highly and the name lost its weight. I think HTC is suffering the same fate.

18. Venom

Posts: 4109; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

Yup. Kudos to understanding instead of crying and throwing shade just because the facts were stated. Blackberry as a phone maker is dead. That was the point.

22. meanestgenius

Posts: 23083; Member since: May 28, 2014

How is posting facts trying to throw shade? Stop being so dramatic all the time just because you can’t stand the fact that BlackBerry pivoted to software and is now a thriving billion dollar company after you were crying for their demise for so long in these comments sections lmao.

30. Venom

Posts: 4109; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

I'm not the one who is throwing tantrums at other users just because the facts were stated. The only one who has been doing this for so long is you. I'm only stating what the article stated.

35. meanestgenius

Posts: 23083; Member since: May 28, 2014

Yes you are. You started throwing a tantrum ever since I made a comment on this article, lol. The only one that’s been doing what? You don’t even know what you’re responding to, lol. No, you’re not. You were trying to say that BlackBerry itself was dead until I commented. Then you flip flopped, lol.

14. meanestgenius

Posts: 23083; Member since: May 28, 2014

The writing has been on the wall regarding this since sometime last year. TCL stopped putting in any real effort after the release of the Key2LE, and BlackBerry the company has moved on from hardware since they signed the deals for others to build them. Chen was never a hardware a guy. He’s a software guy, and his decisions have not only saved BlackBerry, but he’s turned them into a billion dollar software company. https://www.blackberry.com/us/en/company/newsroom/press-releases/2019/blackberry-completes-acquisition-of-cylance https://www.foxbusiness.com/technology/blackberry-morphs-into-billion-dollar-ai-cyber-company Anyone saying that “BlackBerry is dead” is sorely mistaken, and clearly needs to do their research. They are currently on their way to becoming one of the largest, if not THE largest, Cybersecurity AI companies. I‘m extremely happy for them. And more importantly, BlackBerry’s investors are extremely happy for them. I remember when people here, especially a certain someone in the comments, kept spouting that BlackBerry is dead and would not survive as a software company. Jokes on them, obviously. “BlackBerry Mobile”, which is a branch strictly and solely from TCL, is dead. “BlackBerry”, the Cybersecurity AI company, is alive and thriving. Kudos to Chen for turning the company into what it’s supposed to be.

13. CDexterWard

Posts: 146; Member since: Feb 05, 2018

This definitely had one of those "any day now" feels to it. Although I was glad someone picked the torch to make those phones again, TCL was never going to invest enough time, money, or research into truly reviving BB phones. Total milk the emaciated cow and kick it in the ditch move.

11. Abdbaas

Posts: 171; Member since: Apr 05, 2016

It was about time

9. domfonusr

Posts: 1106; Member since: Jan 17, 2014

I knew something wasn't quite right when the time to release a KEY3 came and went without any action. I was really hoping that BlackBerry would stick around through TCL's efforts, but, alas, no such luck... I thought that the KEY2 and KEY2 LE had been at least as successful as the KeyONE… perhaps not so much. Still, they made a fairly unique offering in a world dominated by buttonless slabs. Their contribution to smartphone-diversity and choices will be missed. Also, I really hope this is not a bell-weather for future problems with other revived brands, which have been in the news recently, like HMD's Nokia...

8. Elvis358

Posts: 302; Member since: Mar 25, 2018

Disappointment

6. RoryBreaker

Posts: 323; Member since: Oct 11, 2015

I love competition and having choices, but this is ALL BlackBerry's fault. Just like HTC, their arrogance caused horrible decision making resulting in their demise.

7. miketer

Posts: 548; Member since: Apr 02, 2015

Yes, arrogance, at a time when due diligence and adapting was the need of the hour.

5. Venom

Posts: 4109; Member since: Dec 14, 2017

So blackberry is officially dead. The KeyONE was surprisingly a decent phone, but they did themselves a disservice by charging a premium for modest specs. They never really learned their lesson.

16. sleepypandaeyes

Posts: 430; Member since: Apr 12, 2015

What put me off is the price and blackberry's lack of updates for its previous devices. Only one android update for duch an expensive phone whereas phones like the dtek 50/60 received nothing. Considering blackberry turned itself into a software company, one would assume updates would be a priority for them, I asumed wrong!

4. Whitedot

Posts: 902; Member since: Sep 26, 2017

Some bad business decisions. Smartphone hardware keyboards were dead since the dawn of the touch screen. Someone convinced investors his card can be played. No it can't. In regards to touchscreen BB phones ( TCL) lacked teh weight of R&D budget you cannot survive in smartphone business without, one has quick and always evolve so the old BB( TCL).

3. Subie

Posts: 2467; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

I'd like to see Optiemus expand their licence agreement with Blackberry. There are a few Blackberry designs that Optiemus was preparing for the Indian market that I would've liked to see in North America. I'm not going to hold my breath for this to happen though.

26. kanagadeepan

Posts: 1291; Member since: Jan 24, 2012

Bro, at least TCL tried a little (very very little, imho) and failed. But Optiemus has actually done NOTHING. If for example, TCL sold may be a million or two Key2, Optirmus has sold MUCH LESS THAN FIVE THOUSAND Key2 PLUS Key2LE in India, in last 2 years. I was waiting for them to decrease the price, so that I can buy Key2. But NOPE. For comparison, Still now 64GB Key2 is 70$ COSTLIER than latest Samsung S10lite with SD855.

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